This story was updated 4:27 p.m., Feb. 26, 2013.
Former Olympic swim coach Rick Curl pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court Thursday, Feb. 21, on charges he sexually abused one of his former swimmers.
His sentencing is scheduled for May 23.
Curl, who was not in custody, arrived early for the hearing dressed in a suit and red tie. His wife sat with him in the front row.
Kelley Currin, his victim, came to Maryland from Texas for the hearing. Currin, 43, sat across the aisle, silent, hands clasped, visibly moved at several points during the hearing.
Police began investigating Curl last August after Currin told The Washington Post that she and Curl, her former swim coach, had sexual relations from 1983 to 1986. Curl was her coach from the time she was 9 until she was 18, when she began attending at the University of Texas.
Curl began abusing her when she was just 13, and he was 20 years her senior.
Curl faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison because the abuse occurred when child sexual abuse carried a lesser penalty. The penalty for the same charge today would carry as much as 25 years in prison.
In a press conference after the hearing, Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Debbie Feinstein called Currin a “true hero.”
Currin stood with prosecutors after the hearing, but did not speak. She will deliver a statement at the sentencing in May, State’s Attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff said.
“She’s dealing with a lot of emotions. But ... she feels vindicated,” her lawyer, Robert Allard, told The Gazette.
During the hearing, Judge Marielsa Bernard reminded Curl that his plea would require him to register as a sex offender.
“It would follow you wherever you go,” she warned him, as she asked him a series of questions related to his plea.
Currin had alleged that Curl abused her at several locations in Montgomery County, including his former homes in Rockville and Darnestown, and the swimming facilities at the Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, The Gazette previously reported.
Curl, 63, now lives in Lovettsville, Va.
In the months after his arrest, Curl was banned by USA Swimming, the body that governs competitive swimming in this country. Curl voluntarily agreed to give up his USA Swimming membership.
Curl coached Olympic medalist Tom Dolan and founded the successful Curl-Burke Swim Club, which operated sites in both Bethesda and Gaithersburg. That club is now operating under a new name, Nation’s Capital Swim Club, and ownership, after the allegations against Curl surfaced.